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Home of the Original TML PBeM

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Welcome to the new web-site for one of the oldest (possibly THE oldest) Traveller PBeM games in existence.

The original TML (Traveller Mail List) PBeM started in 1989, under the guidance of Richard Johnson. At this time, the TML was moderated and maintained by James Perkins, via his equipment at Tektronix, Inc. Richard had been a long-time member of the TML and offered to GM a game for other TML members. Over 30 players (including yours truly) immediately started clamoring for a seat on the bus and all were accepted.

This began 2 1/2 wonderful years of fooling around without actually getting anywhere. Let me explain.

The original game premise was an exploratory mission to a newly discovered Ring World (for which the mission name was "R-Alpha") deep in the rift between Reaver's Deep and Ilelish sectors. The original research ship Alcyon was crewed by an almost all-human crew, and one lone Vargr in engineering (more on him later.)

Richard loved to role-play, and he had all of these great ideas for subplots and intrigue. What he didn't have, was a good head for keeping his players on course, especially not almost three dozen!

Needless to say, 2 REAL years (and a few dead bodies) later, The Alcyon reached R-Alpha, only to encounter:

  1. a small Aslan warship/research vessel which coincidentally arrived at the same time,
  2. a wrecked 2-sophant scout ship with one surviving crew member aboard (an injured Ael Yael scientist) and . . .
  3. two surviving passengers from an all-but-destroyed commercial starliner.
Add to this a half dozen R-Alpha natives, and a few telepathic dolphins, and you have the makings of any referees nightmare.

About half way into 1991, Richard realized he was in over his head and pulled the plug on the game. However, by this time, all of us in the game had become good friends and had forged character (and real) relationships that we didn't want to end. Add to this the fact the the lone Vargr in engineering (Bhyarrvouf) had been promoted from lowly engineer to XO, and then from XO to de-facto Captain, by virtue of a near mutiny aboard the Kingfisher (the Alcyon's high-tech shuttle.) Then there was the suicide and bizarre resurrection of Adrian Bishop, the manic-depressive journalist who came along to record the mission, plus an attack on the ship by a Solomani Strike Fleet at the refueling mid-way point, a couple murders, various and sundry sabotage, and the "Engineering Party from Hell", well... we just didn't want to quit when we had hardly begun our mission.

Late in 1991, two of the original players in the PBeM, Mike Metlay and Mark Cook (me), volunteered to jointly take over the PBeM (with Richard's blessing.) The entire player contingent switched over and we were off again.

Now, Mike and I were starting up blind and had to improvise out of whole cloth. To give ourselves some breathing space, we had that nasty 'ol Solomani Strike Fleet catch up with the Alcyon and then proceed to attack R-Alpha. Since it had already been determined (during Richard's tenure as Ref.) that the ring was sentient and posessed of TL-21+ technology, Mike and I were pretty much free to employ any Dues ex Machina we wanted. Thus, the Alcyon, the Aslan ship Trakh, and a handful of riders travelling with the Alcyon were summarily blinked into a 1 kilometer diameter "pocket universe" by the ring (to protect these friendly visitors while it defended itself.) This literally provided game fodder until the end of 1992, when irreconsilable differences between the player running the Ael Yael PC, and myself, caused an abrupt game suspension.

During this brief pause, Metlay and I decided that part of the lack of progress in the game, since our take-over, was that we were trying to push forward a plot created by someone else, that we felt was too grandiose to manage as any kind of RPG, PBeM or otherwise. We decided to scrub the R-Alpha mission and develop something that we were both comfortable with, but that offered the existing players (and their characters) some form of continuity.

Enter the "Stargate".

You see, it appears that when the pocket universe bubble containing the Alcyon and the other ships "burst" (restoring them all to normal space), the ring was gone and only the wreckage of the Solomani fleet remained. The Alcyon returned to it's home base in defeat, with nothing but empty holds. However, after arriving home, some of the science team members reviewed the mission data more carefully and discovered that an anomaly remained where the ringworld had once been. A new crew was recruited (consisting of most of the old players and a few new ones) and a smaller, older ship (the "Elissa") was sent to attempt to pick up where the Alcyon left off. With 'Vouf as Captain, and Admiral Akhouw (Captain of the Aslan ship) as his XO, the Elissa sent out to explore the unknown.

The rest, you'll have to read for yourself...

There's plenty of material for you to absorb on this game. Here are just a few of the gems of information:

The Story So Far... These archives contain the complete storyline (editted into reasonably readable form) from 1992 to the present. Browse through them and find out what happened!
Meet the Crew of the Elissa! We have an almost complete set of thumbnail sketches (text) detailing the current crew of the Elissa. More are coming in all the time, to fill the few remaining gaps.
Acronyms & Terms There's a lot of Techo-Babble in a game like this. Here's a handy-dandy little cheat sheet that will help you make sense out of some of it.

Languages of the Imperium Several "non-English" languages are used throughout the PBeM. These lexicons can help you figure out what is being said!

Ships & Vehicles Then there are the ships that make the game possible. Here are the descriptions (and deckplans) for all of them.
Traveller: The Movie? Okay, so it's a long shot, but we can all dream, can't we? Here's a draft of the proposed "trailer" for the soon-to-be-released space adventure "Traveller: THE WIRE". We just know it'll clean up at the box office.
Administrivia Last but not least, Rules of the Road for the PBeM. Players are STRONGLY encouraged to review this section before posting to the PBeM.

And still more will be added in the future!

Other Resources

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Questions? Comments? Complaints? Suggestions. E-mail them to me at markc@ssgfx.com

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